ATLANTA -- Brazilian-born Spanish midfielder Marco Senna has been a revelation for the New York Cosmos since signing with the club in the spring, and on Saturday he helped the Cosmos win a championship in much the same way another Brazilian-born great did for the Cosmos in the 1970s.
More than three decades after Pele last wore the Cosmos colors, Senna capped his first season with the club with a game-winning strike, finishing off a saved Ayozi free kick with an 18-yard strike into the top corner, beating Atlanta goalkeeper Joe Nasco, who had made multiple first-class saves before Senna's winner.
“At that moment it’s complicated to describe the goal, only thing I can say is that we’re proud of this moment," Senna said after the match. "The goal wasn’t mine, it was a goal for everybody. I think our job was hard, but it was worth it. We deserve this championship and that goal ices everything we did in the season."
Senna's goal capped a well-played final that saw both teams create quality chances, and both goalkeepers delivering top-quality saves. Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish made the goal stand up with his own stellar performance in goal. The former Real Salt Lake goalkeeper made five saves to record the shutout.The Cosmos lift the NASL title after joining the league for the fall season. The Cosmos won the Fall title to set up the Soccer Bowl date with Spring title winner Atlanta. The Silverbacks put up a good challenge playing in front of their home fans, and a sellout crowd of 7,211, but the Cosmos proved too tough.
The Silverbacks had the first dangerous chance of the match in the 12th minute, when a Danny Barrera free kick forced a tough stop from Reynish. Nasco responded with his own quality stops, denying a Senna free kick in the 25th minute, and several other good looks just before halftime.
The title caps a dream first season back for the Cosmos, which returned to the American soccer scene after three decades of inactivity. The championship is the team's sixth, and first since 1982.
"It's a proud moment for me and everyone on the team, to be able to bring a title back to New York," Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese told Goal USA. "The goal was to bring a good team to New York, and play well, and this season we have done that.
"To end the season with a championship, and in front of so many of our fans, who came to Atlanta to support us, is just special.""When the team first came together you're hoping for the best, but the dream was to have a season like this," Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes told Goal USA. "Everything came together, and credit to (Savarese) and the front office for giving us everything we needed to succeed."
The Cosmos will next travel to Spain to play Villarreal on Nov. 13th in a testimonial match for Senna, who spent much of his career with the La Liga club.
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